This week is my 40th birthday!
I have not had the hang-ups that some people experience when turning 40. Although, I will admit I’ve been a little more introspective this week.
I think part of the reason I do not feel strange about turning 40 is because of my practice of gratitude. I paired that with some perspective and it has made me even more excited for my future. An exercise I engage in sometimes is to think about myself a decade (or two) in the past. Would that version of myself be surprised, excited, or concerned about what they were seeing in their future? In a strange way, I hope my 20-year-old self and my 30-year-old self are at least satisfied by what they see.
I am taking a logical approach and an emotional approach to my birthday this year. If you can humor me, I’d like to express my thoughts on turning 40 from both perspectives.
Logic says life expectancy is increasing at a pretty steady rate. There are more people living until 110 and 120 years old than ever before. There is a good chance that I will live to be over a hundred, and if global trends continue, my children have a chance to live past 120. Suddenly 40 years old is no longer a midlife crisis! (Now there are tons of ramifications with that scenario but perhaps I’ll save all the quality of life and economic impacts for another piece.) It’s just interesting to think about today’s retirement age being the new midlife mark, and that 40 years old would be a “third of your life” event not the middle of one’s life.
On the emotional side: my sister, Liz, is a religious sister in the Catholic Church. Besides being an amazing, all-around top 0.1% human, she has a unique point of view because her religious community includes women spanning a wide age spectrum. As a present to me, she asked eight or nine sisters of various ages to give me advice on turning 40. While I won’t be sharing the video, I do want to share my top five favorite pieces of life advice that they gave me:
#5 – Always wave at children on a passing school bus, they love that!
#4 – Focus on what is most important. Show me your calendar, and I will show you your priorities.
#3 – Never burn a bridge. You never know when you’ll need that relationship in the future.
#2 – Do not eat the last brownie, that would be something that would gain you an unfair reputation.
#1 – Give people the benefit of the doubt. Don’t hold people to your memory of their worst moment.
Enjoy your trip(s) around the sun. Look forward to your birthdays.